December 10, 2014
By Marc Bussanich
New York, NY—After announcing that the city and the principals union had reached a new contract, Mayor Bill de Blasio said in the accompanying video that only experienced public educators can lead the reform of public education in New York City.
The Mayor spoke at the Council of School Supervisors & Administrators 47th annual conference on Saturday at the New York Hilton. CSA members applauded loudly as their president, Ernest Logan, announced a new, nine-year contract that provides an average of 18 percent wage increases over that time, a cost of about $743 million.
The mayor then explained how the new contract would help with improving public schools’ academic performances.
“When you look at this contract, you’re going to see real substantial reform. Reform in the actual meaningful sense, not the way some individuals use it. Reform that means the people who do the work, working together with the leadership of the school system, in the interest of the children. That’s the reform I believe in,” said de Blasio.
He then chided some of the public discourse about how to improve public education without specifying whom or which organization.
“If you look at some of the mainstream discourse, you would think that people who are members of labor unions, particularly municipal labor unions, somehow don’t want change or reform or innovation. If you let the mainstream voices that we see a lot in our media you let them rule the day, what they would say is ‘well of course, you’re members of a union so you can’t be in favor of doing things better.’”
But he said his experience has been otherwise.
“I have found that my brothers and sisters in municipal labor want to constantly work to make our city better. A lot of the best innovations, a lot of the greatest desire for reform has come from members and leaders of our municipal labor unions,” said de Blasio.
He lamented that the public discourse doesn’t acknowledge the efforts by those already doing the work.
“If ever there was a labor of love it’s the work you do. It takes that desire, that commitment to do this work. This contract is as good as you in that it opens the door for progress and reform determined by all of the stakeholders,” de Blasio said.